The Artful Dead

Sometime in the last couple hundred years, Halloween went from a sacred religious holiday to an occasion to binge eat candy, drink and make poor decisions while dressed lamely in costume. (Let's go ahead and retire the male doctor get-up with a “free mammograms” sign around his neck, shall we?) Thankfully, events celebrating the reverent and often visually stunning traditions of Día De Los Muertos seem to be multiplying year after year. There's so much excitement, in fact, that there are a few events kicking things off mid-month, ahead of the actual celebration, which takes place October 31 through November 2.

The California Museum (1020 O Street) is going all out this year with its Day of the Dead Party on Friday, October 16, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. in celebration of its current exhibit Day of the Dead: Art of Día de los Muertos 2015, which features installations from California artists Francisco Franco, John Huerta, David Lozeau, Rob-O and Mary Southall, all of whom will be in attendance at the party. Attendees will also be treated to traditional small bites courtesy of Mayahuel Restaurant & Tequila Museum, a dance performance by Danza Azteca Kalpulli Maquilli Tonatiuh, face painting and a costume contest. Tickets are $5 in advance and $10 at the door. More information can be found at

On Saturday, October 17, and Sunday, October 18, the California Museum is hosting a number of Sugar Skull Workshops wherein specialist Rob-O will instruct participants ages 5 and up in creating their own calavera de azúcar. A material fee of $20 and advanced registration is required; register at

In conjunction with the Sacramento History Museum, Sol Collective will host the Día de los Muertos Art Labs at the Stanford Gallery (111 I Street in Old Sacramento). On Saturday, October 17, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., attendees will have the opportunity to create traditional arts and crafts such as sugar skulls, mini-altars and paper cempasúchil marigolds. On Thursday, October 22, from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., community members will come together for the “Honoring Our Past” lecture at the museum (101 I Street) about the history and current cultural significance of the holiday ahead of the big celebration event on Sunday, November 1. For more information, head to